NEW HAVEN, Conn. — For the second night in a row, Yale goalkeeper Sarah Love put on a virtuoso performance in the face of well over 40 opposing shots. On this night, though, it didn’t matter.
Despite a 40-save performance from Love – which gave the senior from Bayfield, Ontario, a total of 86 on the weekend after Friday night’s 3-1 upset of No. 6 Harvard – Dartmouth recovered from a 2-1 first period deficit to defeat the Bulldogs, 4-2.
“I think it was great,” Dartmouth coach Mark Hudak said of the win, as the Big Green improved to 4-4-0 (2-4-0 ECACHL). “Last night, we did the same thing. We outshot Brown 3 to 1. I think tonight, we were a little bit smarter with our forecheck, a little bit smarter in the D-zone, power play is finally starting to click a little. We’re very young, and it’s going to take time. Tonight was one of those nights where a lot of things came together for us.”
“I think we emotionally drained ourselves,” said Yale coach Hillary Witt, whose Bulldogs fell to 2-4-2 (2-2-1 ECACHL). “There’s no reason for us not to have legs today. We just didn’t seem to have it. Give credit to Dartmouth. They worked their butts off today, and really came out to win a game. They beat us to every puck, they outskated us, they outworked us, and they deserved to win.”
The teams played to a 2-2 tie through the first two periods before Big Green senior captain Tiffany Hagge potted her team-best fifth goal – and fourth game-winner – of the year.
“Right off the faceoff, the puck just squirted forward,” Hagge said. “I was coming off the left wing side. Off our offensive-zone faceoffs, we like our weakside wings to go through, so I just came through, picked up the puck, and put a deke on Love.”
Hagge’s goal gave the Big Green its first lead of the game, as the Bulldogs were successful in holding off the visitors for much of the game.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring 9:21 into the first period as a loose puck at the Yale blue line turned into a breakaway for Maggie Westfal. Westfal, playing her first game on the ice for Yale following the conclusion of the Bulldogs’ soccer season in the third round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, held of a trailing Emily Nerland and put the puck past Big Green keeper Carli Clemis for the 1-0 advantage.
“It was relieving,” Westfal said of her first goal in a Yale sweater, following up her three goals for Yale on the soccer field. “It took a lot of the pressure that I had built up for the game off a little bit, but I think there’s a lot of things I can improve on.”
Dartmouth equalized a mere 16 seconds later, as freshman Shannon Bowman slammed home a rebound from Danielle Grundy to tie it up at the 9:37 mark.
Yale retook the lead quickly, though, as Jenna Spring found room in the offensive zone and skated in for a shot on Clemis’ glove side. Clemis got a piece of the initial shot, but the puck had enough momentum to slide across the goal line for the 2-1 lead at 11:35.
Clemis’ outing ended soon afterward, but it had nothing to do with another Yale score. Following a stoppage in play with less than three minutes to play in the opening frame, two players – one from each team – crashed into Clemis, forcing Kate Lane – who had played all seven of Dartmouth’s previous games this season – to enter in relief.
Dartmouth finished the period with 14 shots on goal to Yale’s five, but Yale held the lead thanks to Love, who made 13 saves in the first.
Dartmouth tied it 5:11 into the middle frame, as Bowman picked up her second goal of the afternoon. On a shortened power-play, Bowman staked out prime real estate in front of the net, and lifted Alex Zagaria’s wraparound pass over a crouching Love to tie it up.
That goal accounted for all of the scoring in the second period, as Love made 18 saves in the period, while Lane stopped all three shots put on the Big Green net.
“I try to go into any game ready,” Lane said, “whether I’m starting or not. I was supportive of [Clemis], but at the same time, wanted to be focused and ready to go out myself.”
In the third, Hagge struck early for the go-ahead goal, and was followed by sophomore Carrie Thompson, who connected on a power-play rebound for the 4-2 advantage at 10:24. Yale put 10 shots on net in the period, but Lane was equal to the task each time, including several shots after Love had gone to the bench for an extra attacker.
Dartmouth finished with 44 shots on net, while Yale posted a total of 18 for the game. Lane stopped all 13 she faced.
Both squads will participate in holiday tournaments next weekend, each playing a pair of nonconference games. Dartmouth will face Wisconsin and the NWHL’s Ottawa Raiders at Thompson Arena in Hanover, while Yale will take on Providence and Niagara at the Mayor’s Cup tournament at the Friars’ Schneider Arena.
Elliot Olshansky is an assistant editor for CSTV.com, and the “CSTV.com Rink Rat,” attending and covering over 65 men’s and women’s hockey games this season, with photos, audio interviews and analysis at http://slog.cstv.com/rinkrat.